Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Linda Thomas-GreenfieldReuters

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield addressed a Security Council briefing on the situation in Afghanistan on Monday.

Addressing the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Thomas-Greenfield said that the international community was entering "an uncertain and crucial period that requires the international community to speak with a clear and unified voice."

"Over this past weekend, members of the international community joined together to state unequivocally that every Afghan should be able to live in safety, security, and dignity. We also called on all parties in Afghanistan to ensure safe departures and the protection of human life and property," she said.

She called on the Taliban to refrain from attacking civilians. "Today, I want to reiterate, reemphasize, and reassert this call: civilian populations, including journalists and noncombatants, must be protected. Attacks against civilians or civilian objects must stop. And the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghan citizens – especially women, girls, and members of minority groups – must be respected. We also call on all parties to prevent terrorism, and we must all ensure Afghanistan cannot ever, ever again be a base for terrorism."

"We also call on the Taliban to permit humanitarian organizations to continue their vital work in Afghanistan. In addition to the ongoing violence, the Afghan people are suffering acutely from the effects of COVID-19 and drought. These urgent humanitarian needs must remain top of mind for all of us in the coming hours, days, and weeks, and beyond. Humanitarian personnel and agencies must have safe, unhindered access to provide life-saving assistance to the increasing numbers of Afghans in need. We are deeply concerned that right now, aid is not flowing to people in crisis," she said.

The ambassador called on the international community to open their doors to Afghani refugees fleeing Taliban rule. "All Afghan nationals and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so safely. President Biden has made clear that any action that put U.S. personnel or our mission at risk will be met with a swift and strong military response. The United States promises to be generous in resettling Afghans in our own country. And I am heartened by the pledges we’ve seen from other nations to do the same. We need to all do more, and the time to step up is now."

"We urge Afghanistan’s neighbors, and others in the region and beyond, to give refuge – be it temporary or permanent – to Afghans attempting to flee. And together, we must do everything we can to help Afghanistan, to help Afghans who wish to leave and seek refuge."